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Barak Orders Draft of Ultra-Orthodox Men

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the Israeli Defense Forces to draft haredi Orthodox men as it does other Jewish Israelis.

The Associated Press reported that Barak has allowed a month for officials to formulate regulations on haredi conscription.

The order came as the Tal Law, which allowed haredi men to defer army service, expired on Wednesday. Israel’s Supreme Court overturned the law in February. Israeli law mandates that Jewish Israelis enter the army at age 18. Some Israelis legally defer army service for a year or more to study and prepare for the army.

Israeli Arabs are not required to serve in the army.

Since the Tal Law’s being overturned, the debate over Israel’s mandatory conscription has been at the center of the country’s political discourse. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu established a unity government in May with the centrist Kadima, the Knesset’s largest party, to draft new legislation on mandatory service that would address haredi and Arab youth, but Kadima left the coalition in July after failing to come to an agreement with Netanyahu.

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